November 2007 - Volume IV - Issue XI

ADHD - Peace at Home Goodwill toward Family

Statement: My intent in this newsletter is to express as quickly as possible my own beliefs and opinions on matters. I have no problems with people who disagree with my opinion and have even been swayed to rethink my position from time to time. We are still taking book orders for my book "ADHD and The Criminal Justice System" and you can get my author's discount at

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As the Holidays approach I am always reminded of the saying Peace on Earth Goodwill toward men. For most of us we would be happy with Peace at Home Goodwill toward family!! It seems that often times the Holidays approaching often brings dread to some of us of family get together's and some of the stresses that entails. Although there are a lot of people who love having family get together's some others are not so joyous. I personally get along pretty well with most of my kin folk but have seen others who do not. If you are in this latter group, know that you are not alone.

Someone wise once told me that visiting your family is not a vacation. The holiday season can sometimes make this ring even truer. If you have a small family you might not feel the pressure of trying to come to visit all the family and in-laws or hosting them. If your family is larger the invitations can far exceed anyone's abilities to please everyone. My recommendation to you if you feel stressed out is to feel free to say NO!!

I know people in their forties and fifties with grown children who have never spent the holidays at home. I know others who once they were married and started having children took the opportunity to start their own family holiday traditions. Many of them get together with extended family sometime before Thanksgiving or after the New Year.

My reason for writing about this are that many persons with ADHD seem to get excessively anxious over their holiday obligations. In reality these obligations are actually self imposed and based on guilt feelings or manipulation by others. If you are an adult who gets stressed out at the holidays over family issues decide today to make some changes.

It is really hard for anyone to argue objectively with someone who states their case in a calm and cool manner for wanting to stay home and have their own holidays. Anyone that would argue with you against this is probably too selfish to understand and in my opinion not worth trying to argue with. If you feel comfortable you can invite them to your place to join you, assuming that will not add to your stress. Just don't feel obligated to do anything that increases your holiday turmoil.

If your traveling for the holidays have been a long standing tradition or your hosting the holiday has always been expected you may need to use some tact and diplomacy in breaking the cycle. You might even be surprised to find out that everyone else feels the same way and everyone else was afraid to make the first move. It is sort of like the story of the old couple who had been married for years and the husband had always made toast for them every morning. Every day he made toast he seemed to give the heel of the loaf to his wife. This went on for years. When they were in their eighties the wife one morning finally got fed up and complained. "Why do you always give me the heel of the toast, I don't like the heel". Her husband gave her a look of disbelief and replied " I gave you the heel all these years because I thought you liked them, the heels are my favorite piece of the bread" They both broke into tears of laughter realizing they had gone all these years not having brought up the issue and each of them feeling they were sacrificing for the other out of love. The reality was that they could have both been happier had they just spoken sooner.

So if you are in what you feel is a dreaded situation and have never asked the others involved how they felt you might all be happy to know that everyone is agreeable. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I know one family whom the matriarch of the family always felt obligated to host the holidays and just assumed over the years that the family expected this of her. When she was offered a chance for a change, she was elated and enjoyed the holidays much more in the years to come with the variety of visiting others and sometimes just staying home with her husband.

So if you are scared. Don't be. The first step is bringing up the subject.

Happy Holidays and have a great 2008.

Patrick Hurley

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Author's Bio: 

17 years Lieutenant Johnson County Iowa Sheriffs Dept, 5 years Adult Probation/Parole Officer, 10 years Adult ADHD Support Group facilitator, 4 years ADHD Life Skills Coach. Co Author of book ADHD AND THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM